Monday, November 21, 2016

John Coltrane's "Countdown" - Improv with Chord Tones, Scales and Four Note Groupings

I had a little practice time today at Berklee and was working on John Coltrane's classic composition "Countdown". My improv students and I have been working this week on improvising on this song focusing on several techniques including the use of Chord Tones, Scales and Four Note Groupings (1,2,3 and 5 for each chord). This tune is based upon the 16 bar jazz standard "Tune Up" which is basically a series of II-7 V7 I Maj's through various keys down in whole steps. Coltrane applied his 3 Tonic System (3 major keys a major 3rd apart) to each II-7 V7 I Maj. So for D-7/ G7/ C Maj/ C Maj 7/, we now have D-7 Eb7/Ab Maj 7 B7/E Maj 7 G7/ C Maj 7/.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Chord Melody on "I'll Wait & Pray"

Here is a chord melody on "I'll Wait And Pray" (George Treadwell, Jerry Valentine) utilizing a variety of voicings, as well as mallet & hand dampening in order to keep the clarity of the melodic line and counterpoint. I created this chord melody for a great student of mine at Berklee, James. He is a drummer, but is studying vibes with me this semester. James transcribed both the melody & chord changes from the beautiful John Coltrane version (Coltrane Jazz - 1959). We compared it to Sarah Vaughan's 1944 version and took elements from both. The goal was to keep it simple, honor the melody and maintain clarity, while using different type voicings. I included pedal markings in the written music to help make clear what needs to be dampened by the mallets/hands. Types of dampening utilized here are alternate and same mallet dampening, slide dampening and hand dampening. If you have any question, feel free to ask.

Written music can be downloaded here: